REPORT: Charlton 2-2 Durham

A late equaliser saw Durham Women denied all three points in their first outing of 2019.

A late Chloe Gurr equaliser saw Charlton snatch a share of the spoils as the two promotion contenders played out an entertaining draw at the Oakwood.

Ellie Bailes had given the Addicks an early lead before a brace from Zoe Ness handed Durham the initiative.

In a stop-start encounter, it was Charlton who threatened first with Kit Graham firing wide from a tight angle.

Neither side were able to gain early momentum, with the referee regularly halting play and disrupting the rhythm.

But it was to be the hosts who struck the first blow – Bailes tapping home on the line after a defensive mix-up saw the winger handed the simplest of finishes.

Falling behind sparked Durham into life, with a goal ruled out for a foul on stopper Katie Startup before Lisa Robertson saw a low effort held by the Charlton ‘keeper.

Down the other end, Hannah Reid was forced to make a fine save to deny Graham – with the Wildcats incensed that a foul on Kathryn Hill had not been awarded prior to the counter-attack.

Despite having few clear-cut chances in the first half, Durham were able to level before the interval courtesy of an inspired strike from Ness, as she capped off a fine move with a stunning curling effort from 25 yards.

And Ness would have her – and Durham’s – second before the break, as she capitalised to tap home after Startup spilled a catch.

Charlton looked to turn the screw after the interval with Graham sending a header wide before forcing Reid into a routine stop.

Durham, though, still looked lively – with Roberts firing wide from the edge of the area.

The Wildcats needed two moments of brilliance to preserve their lead, though, with Becky Salicki making an inch-perfect tackle to stop Lily Agg from netting before Reid make a superb one-handed stop to keep out Liz Ejupi’s header.

And while the Addicks poured forward, Durham had chances on the counter attack as both Roberts and Ness saw good chances go begging.

Charlton would make their pressure pay late on too, Gurr ghosting in to bundle the ball home from close range.

There were late chances for the Wildcats to win it – with Sarah Robson and Caroline Dixon seeing efforts hacked off the line – but the visitors were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

Durham XI: Reid, Hill, Robertson, Wilson, Robson, Hepple, Ness, Gears (Dixon), Salicki (Lee), Christon, Roberts

Subs not used: Borthwick, Greenwood

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